CHENNAI: Despite protests from the residents, a historical park at Pattalam cleared by Greater Chennai Corporation, is now being used as a parking area for scores of private vehicles and autorickshaws.
Located on Strahans Road, the green hub nicknamed ‘manikoondu’ park was quite popular in the neighbourhood. The park was removed on March 1 with police vigil despite objections raised by locals and political parties. The civic officials then said it was cleared to widen the road and a new park will be created at another place for the residents.
Now private vehicles and police vans are lined up permanently on this stretch of 2 km area where the historical park with a tower clock was once located. Speaking to City Express, Mohan Ramanuja Dass, a long-time resident who is one amog hundreds to have opposed the destruction of the park, says the place is now being used for the benefit of private vehicles and also serves as an autorickshaw stand.
“Because of this parking lot, illegal activities are happening after dusk. Strangers take shelter in the parked vehicles and misuse the place. Not only that, it also serves as a public toilet for them,” avers Ramanuja Dass.
Another resident said police are mute spectators to the misuse of the park-turned-parking lot. “We suspect they receive bribes for allowing parking space for these people,” he says.
Expressing dismay over the removal of park, G Shabnam, advocate, says, “We have no idea how these private cabs and other vehicles came to know there there is a space available here. The park was cleared only for outsiders benefit.”
While the officials assured locals of a new park at an alternative site, there was no sign of work. The residents suspect that the site would have been allotted to a builder for constructing an apartment. Corporation officials were not available for comment.
Selvapathy Chettiar Park
■ In memory of Selvapathy Chettiar, one of the founders of Madras Labour Union in Binny Mills, the first trade union in the country set up in 1918
■ Opened on August 4,1948 by Dr U Krishna Rao, the then Mayor of Madras
■ Spread across 2 km along Strahans Road
■ Famous for public speeches of erstwhile political leaders
■ Renovated in 2004